Sunday, August 21, 2011

So we're venturing into the charter school realm...

I founded The Learning Village Homeschool Resource Center a couple years ago because I had heard about this fabulous homeschool charter in Visalia (an hour away)...and I wanted something like that here in Fresno. I decided, after many online discussions with local homeschoolers, that we could make that happen here and went about making it so. I got our 501(c)(3) status and founded and led the board, and did nearly all the classes myself, and enlisted help in other areas as needed...And it seemed so promising initially...there was lots of interest and lots of people who said they'd help. But as time went on, I became more and more frustrated as everything and everyone fizzled.

I ended up cancelling all the classes from lack of attendance...And due to a difficulty in getting any help with the program or governance of the organization...I became extremely disheartened and my own energy and passion for this dream fizzled and has practically died at this point.

Apparently Fresno Homeschoolers simply don't want a homeschool resource center.

OK, so I'm facing this reality...and hating it...and pissed as all hell about it (why did so many people say they DID want it when I started throwing out the idea? Why did people say they'd help then never stepped up to the plate or then disappeared once things were finally happening?) But life must move on.

I'm not completely giving up on the dream. The lending library is still there and waiting to be organized and made available. I fully plan to continue with that...and keep the nonprofit status for that library. I plan to get all those items online and visible and once the library is ready, start making it available to local homeschoolers again. We've even decided to drop the membership rate significantly to make it more accessible to more people...But I don't hold a lot of hope that this will help. I've come to be so disheartened by the homeschoolers in my area that I just don't expect anything to work anymore.

I get that not everyone wants what I want. I get that. So a lot of our local homeschoolers don't feel a need for more activities and programs. That's fine. But I never would have even attempted this if I hadn't gotten a LOT of positive feedback.

I grew up in a church community...I'm used to being surrounded by a community...I no longer attend church so I naturally have wanted a homeschool community around me. But the Fresno homeschool community is so fractured into pieces. And those in any one of those pieces that are well organized and cohesive are perfectly happy and not interested in anything else. These are the religious groups typically. That's fine and dandy. I wanted to bring all these groups together in The Learning Village and find a way to have one large cohesive group of ALL local homeschoolers...I seriously believed "If you build it, they will come." Not so in Fresno.

I've just gotten so fed up with the failure of so many businesses and ideas in this area. I've talked at length with other people who attempt to organize groups in this area and they all say the same thing...that people in this area just don't want to commit. They lack in follow through. I don't know if this is really true or not...but its been my experience. And I keep thinking that no, its me, that I've been a lousy leader...that I've not done what I need to do to get things going properly....But then I think about all that I HAVE done. And yes, there's always room for improvement...but it really comes down to a lack of support in the things I'm trying to do. It ALWAYS ends up being an issue eventually. I've done a LOT of things here in this area...but nearly all of them have fizzled and died or fizzled down to just a simple online group (where there are no commitments necessary...and most members don't even post!) because anything more just hasn't gotten the people behind it to make it happen.

I cannot do it all on my own. I just can't. I keep thinking I won't have to...that if I start organizing things that people will naturally just join in and help out. They don't. Or not for long. Its SOOOOO FRUSTRATING!!

So I'm about at the end of my rope. I'm done. I'm just not going to organize things that no one wants to help with, or even take the time to attend. I'm just so done. I'm so very fed up and pissed off and DONE. (And right back at desiring to move away again.)  And its so sad and exhausting. Sad more then anything. :(

So I went back to the original desire I had for Eleanor Roosevelt (that Visalia charter I mentioned earlier)...and finally have decided that even though I never wanted to be plugged into the public school system in any way (don't get me started on all my reasons...I could go on for hours...)  I decided, after looking further into it, that this particular homeschool charter could be the best of both worlds. I have talked a LOT to friends that have been going there and what they like about it...and I even went down there and visited last week. I LOVE IT. Hopefully the reality of the programs will be as awesome as the stories I've heard...We'll see...Worse comes to worse, it doesn't work and I'm back to where I have always been...in having to create something myself. But I have very high hopes that this program will be just what I've been wanting.

Yes, I have to drive about an hour (one way) to get there...but we will only go once a week for the enrichment programs. I have a dear friend that has decided to give it a shot as well and carpool with me and split the gas money. I am going to give this a shot and sincerely hope its just what I have been desiring.

This place just sounds fantastic...very open to what *I* want for my kids....letting me have the flexibility to choose the style of education my children get...but provide guidance for me. They have a community which sounds like just what I've been looking for. They have enrichment programs and outings that I have been wanting for myself and my kids...AND I DON'T HAVE TO ORGANIZE IT!!! And its FREE! (public school charter, funded by public school funds.)  Wish they were closer but at this point, I'll take it.

I'm VERY EXCITED about getting started! Will be updating here when we get some things to report about. Wish me luck! :)